(Continued: Page 2 of 2)
Based on our experience, it is not advisable to run the DVD system with the engine off: After activating the screens for a 20-minute photo shoot, we found that the battery had run dead, and we needed to jumpstart the car back to life.
Despite the fact that the 2007 Yukon's V-8, VORTEC engine can conjure up 320hp at 5200rpm, it is about as responsive as a battleship when called into action to change lanes or merge with traffic.
GM deserves tech-kudos however, for the engine's active fuel-management system, which enables the engine to operate on only half of the engine's cylinders (i.e. four) when full power is not needed. According to GM, this can improve efficiency by as much as 12 percent in some vehicles. An option on the Yukon's Driver Information Control system tells drivers whether the car is in four-cylinder or V-8 mode. Also in the VORTEC's eco-favor is its ability to run on flex-fuel, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
GM's VORTEC V-8 engine has the ability to run on only four cylinders when engine demand is low.
Our 5.3L, 4-speed automatic test model was a two-wheel drive, which means that we didn't fancy taking it on the kind of off-road trails you see on GM's SUV television commercials (a 4WD option is available for an extra $2,800). When turning corners or pulling to a stop, its excessive body-roll and dive made us feel like we were on a fishing trawler at high tide. Ride softness on the Yukon is due to its coil-over-shock front suspension and premium smooth-ride suspension package (which comes as standard on the SLT). And, while it has a tendency to induce seasickness when handling, the upside is a very smooth ride over potholes and highway expansion joints.
Our test model did come with a heavy-duty locking rear-differential as standard, but it didn't have the SLT's optional upgraded suspension package, which includes bi-state variable shock dampering and rear air-assisted load-leveling.
Our fuel mileage averaged 13.7 mpg after driving more than 200 miles split equally between heavy city traffic and clear highway runs. One curiosity we noticed with the Yukon's instrument panel was its inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate fuel-level and range-to-empty readings. After tell us that the car's gas tank was nearly empty and that the remaining available driving mileage was "low," the Yukon then decided there was well over a quarter tank left, enough to keep us going for 85 miles. Less than five miles later, we were back to the empty warning again, followed by another revision that told us we were at a quarter-tank and OK for another 50 miles.
GM makes a lot out of the 2007 Yukon's maximum NHTSA five-star rating for frontal-impact crash tests. While this is admirable in any car, it is not too surprising for one this big. Nor is it surprising that GM neglected to mention is that the latest Yukon gets a less impressive three-star rating for rollover safety.
Otherwise, the safety features on the Yukon are good: GM's Stabilitrak comes as standard, as do ABS, four-wheel disc brakes, and a tire-pressure monitoring system, which is built in to the Driver Information Control display.
A tire-pressure monitoring system is one of the standard tech safety features on the 2007 Yukon.
In addition to the Yukon's standard dual-stage frontal airbags with front passenger-sensing system, the SLT-1 Decor package provides head-curtain side airbags for all seating rows. Also part of the SLT-1 package is a rear-parking assist meter, which notifies drivers by a succession of beeps and lights when the car is in reverse and approaching an obstacle.
Buyers of the 2007 Yukon receive a one-year subscription to GM's Onstar Safe and Sound program. They also receive a GMC's basic roadside and drive-train 3-year/36,000-mile warranty and a 6-year/100,000-mile rust warranty.